Several of my garden pictures include the water trough planter. What you might not have noticed about this trough is that it’s a self-watering container/wicking bed on steroids.
I got the idea here (NOTE: the link is now broken, from Mary Jane’s Farm Magazine, Aug-Oct 2009 issue, Makin’ Hay), and made it work with materials that I could access.
The mesh was actually gutter screens that were left over from the new roof we had put on last year.
This mesh was used as the support for the dirt, held up over the water reservoir by the perforated PVC pipe shown in the instruction link.
Holes were cut into the mesh for the four higher sections of PVC that were used to hold the wicking soil.
A double layer of landscape cloth and fiberglas screen were used to keep the soil on top of the mesh support.
Notice the PVC pipe in the left part of the trough? That’s the water fill tube. Just like the self-watering container, this trough has a water reservoir, soil support, wicking soil to pull the water up to the plant roots, a water fill tube, and a drain hole. These are the necessary components for a self-water container or wicking bed.
The planter contains the strawberries seen below, and was a great garden bed for the sweet potatoes, dill, lettuce, spinach and strawberries during last summer.
I highly recommend this water trough planter. It fared quite well during a summer draught that was highlighted by the longest stretch of high temperatures we’d seen in a long while. I was able to fill the reservoir once every two weeks and the plants thrived.
No water has been added since the end of summer, aside from the rain water naturally collected in the trough. The strawberries are the new growth this year. Lettuce is also growing from the plants I allowed to bolt for seed.
Once the budget allows, I plan to put two more of these planters in use.